Please read, it’s well worth the time and effort.
I just viewed a YouTube video by an upcoming ”new breed” style journalist Tim Pool, currently filing reports from Sweden. In this segment he’s interviewing an ethnic Afghan and former refugee, Mustafa Panshiri, who up until recently, was a member of the Swedish Police force. The former officer, now privately employed social worker, is helping to solve problems facing Sweden in integrating young Muslim refugees. It was an honest approach (IMHO) to understand the complexity surrounding Sweden’s crime statistics vis-a-vis the surge in Muslim refugees/asylum seekers over the past couple of years.
The former cop interviewed was very straight forward, very articulate and I believe sincere. His main premise was that Sweden went ahead with its open borders policy without first thinking through about the ramifications such a policy or policies would create. He kept insisting that “there wasn’t a plan”, and that his services were badly needed in helping to right the situation, or at least to do what he could realistically do. I believe his sincerity.
That said, what was not addressed in that interview was the elephant in the room, Islam. The reason why he is secular, believes in the secular state and the civil liberties that state promotes and protects, is not due to his Islamic culture, but his acceptance of Swedish culture. I believe him when he states that only a small minority of Muslims coming from Afghanistan are creating problems, and that the majority of others are upset over getting a bad rap because of them. But it has nothing to do with the former being ‘unIslamic’, and everything to do with the latter not being (presently) enthralled with Islam/Islamic culture that they just left.
The problem as I see it is that they do not really represent modernism and acceptance of a free society and classic liberal values that Panshiri is depicting. Like any youth their age, they are just being rebellious, they’re pushing the envelope on what to experience, to feel and to think. Mustafa Panshiri readily admits that the more adult/older males are less likely to be open to, let alone hold, these secular views, and therein lies my next point. The older one gets, the more likely the rebellious views he now holds will be changed by the pull of tradition, with family, and the mores and values they held while growing up as children becoming of more importance. That link to the past is a strong one, not in every case, but in enough of them. Therein lies the problem, secularism in Islamic influenced communities is not something that’s going to be passed from one generation to the next.
“Lots of these young Muslims, though not very religious, saw it as their duty to become more religious as they grew up and settled down. Religion, for them, was an essential part of becoming responsible, civic-minded, family-minded, and about putting away youthful selfishness. And – the other side of the coin – secularism was assumed to be devoid of such healthy values, the site of mere hedonism.”
Islam – unlike Christianity – refuses to see virtue in secularism
There was a good programme last week on Channel 4 about Muslims looking for love, or at least marriage. It was called ‘Extremely British Muslims’, and it did indeed show us some young Muslims who were very much like anyone else. But it was also a reminder that many Muslims have a deep-seated assumption about religion and secularism that the rest of don’t. Lots of these young Muslims, though not very religious, saw it as their duty to become more religious as they grew up and settled down. Religion, for them, was an essential part of becoming responsible, civic-minded, family-minded, and about putting away youthful selfishness. And – the other side of the coin – secularism was assumed to be devoid of such healthy values, the site of mere hedonism.
This is a big difference from the majority culture. The rest of us, even if we are religious, see that there is plenty of good in secularism. We are familiar with the long tradition of secular humanist idealism, and we know many people who strive to exemplify it. Muslims are more likely to have a binary moral narrative, drummed into them in childhood and difficult to dislodge: social virtue is religious, secularism is the site of selfish rebellion against it. Their own young lives seem to prove it: they drift away from religion for a while, in their self-centred late teens and early twenties.
Tim Pool interviews Mustafa Panshiri on YouTube